It is weeks since we last saw rain in Wivelsfield; there have been showers in Burgess Hill, Hurstpierpoint, Haywards Heath and elsewhere but as so often is the case, here we are as dry as a bone.
The pigeons have been breakfasting, lunching and dining out on the Lupins despite heroic attempts by local guns to keep them away. However, the evidence is indisputable, as any shot have crops full to bursting with Lupin seeds.
We have invested heavily in bird scaring banger ropes which we hang high in the trees around the fields, well away from dwellings and footpaths. Within a day of setting them up we received the inevitable visit from the local Environmental Health Office. He had been contacted by just one member of the public who lives over a quarter of a mile away from the closest banger, but could hear ‘bangs’ in the distance! The officer’s duty was to investigate, and caution me that my first duty is to protect the public, not my crop! You couldn’t make it up!
British agriculture should be high on the list of priorities during the run up to the General Election, and even more importantly, during the Brexit negotiations.
Depending on who one listens to, there are two very differing views on the future of British agriculture post Brexit.
Some believe that once we have cut the umbilical cord from the EU, British farmers will be starved of life saving financial input which currently does indeed keep the wolf from the gate of many farms.
Others are quite relaxed about the future and can see only opportunities, including expanding our markets globally, increasing national investment into research and development, and directing support where it is actually needed instead of the current scatter gun effect, costing millions.
The restraining and smothering hand of the bureaucratic red tape of ‘mother’ Brussels has not in fact been helpful or constructive.
What is certain is that if we had not been cushioned and restricted by the Common Agricultural Policy, British agriculture would be far more advanced, productive, and innovative.
As with families which have for generations relied on the nanny state, and now are incapable of standing on their own two feet, preferring to live off benefits rather than aspire to gain qualifications and aim high, British agriculture is over reliant upon support which comes via Brussels.
The future for farming, post Brexit, should be somewhere in the middle. It will only work if the right people are handling the negotiations, but there does appear to be rather too much extremism from both sides of the debate, which is probably doing Andrea Leadsom’s head in.
The Minister has done well to grasp her very complicated brief. Not easy as agriculture was never her subject.
She should have been part of the hard core Brexit negotiating team, as few in Westminster have as much experience as she regarding the workings of the EU. However, for whatever reason Mrs May decided to lob agriculture at her which she no doubt realised was particularly tricky!
I suspect following the General Election Andrea Leadsom and several of her colleagues will be well and truly ‘shuffled’. There are certainly several square pegs in round ministerial holes at present.
Stories that the Prime Minister is not prepared to meet the general public do not hold up in reality. Sussex saw Mrs May visit both Eastbourne and Seaford last week where she walked happily along high streets and knocked on random doors, as she supported County Council candidates. The public found her willing to chat and very accessible as did the local press.
It appears the negative reports were an example of ‘fake news’?